Myth No. 1: Low-carb diets are ideal for athletes and physically active people because they are healthy.
Myth No. 2: Athletes and physically active people should eat as much protein as possible.
Don’t be fooled by the marketing savvy and popularity of fad diets and products. Jackie Buell, PhD, director of Sports Nutrition for OSU athletes recommends keeping the following in mind:
Truth No. 1: Carbohydrates fuel muscles.
While popular today, diets low in carbohydrates can be damaging. Without the benefit of enough carbohydrates in your body (55 to 65 percent of your total diet) you run the risk of experiencing fatigue or losing focus during a workout, and recovering very slowly after a workout. Research shows that diets rich in carbohydrates also boost immune systems.
Consider this tip: Carbohydrates can be ingested from foods less heavy than pasta dinners. Fruits provide a great source of carbohydrates as well as essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, each of which contribute to maintaining good health.
Truth No. 2: Athletes and physically active people should eat no more than one gram of protein per day per pound of body weight.
Many athletes and physically active people link weight gain or weight maintenance to high-protein diets. However, an overabundance of protein will not help high-intensity or endurance sport performance. Also, high-protein foods are best consumed with plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration.
Consider this tip: While animal products are the best sources of protein, opt for lean cuts of meat, which will reduce your calorie and saturated fat intake. Also consider milk, which offers your body the benefits of calcium and other vitamins and minerals.
Regardless of your sport or activity, adhering to a balanced diet is essential. Just as you wouldn’t play without the right clothing or equipment, you shouldn’t play without the right fuel.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the OSU Sports Medicine Center at (614) 293-3600.